2006-06-01, 10:56

Mixed use in Atlanta far from the city center

By: Jonathan Groner
Many people think mixed-use projects are mostly being built these days in wealthy urban centers or in closer-in, rapidly gentrifying areas. And there's some truth to that assumption. But a project now under way in Atlanta looks as if it's going to be a significant exception.

McShane Construction of Rosemont, Ill., was just selected by developer The Shelter Group to construct Park View at Coventry Station, a 166-unit affordable senior housing community that will form part of Coventry Station. This community is expected to be completed by June 2007. Coventry Station as a whole, which will be completed in 2008 or 2009, will be a mixed-use project occupying 138 acres in Southwest Atlanta. It will include single-family homes, townhouses, garden apartments, a commercial village, and lofts above commercial establishments.

What's particularly interesting about this project is that it's located in an affluent, predominantly African-American neighborhood fairly far from downtown. Priske-Jones Southeast Co. is the developer, and a year ago, the Priske-Jones VP and general manager in charge of the project told the Atlanta Business Chronicle that perceptions that the area was "rough" were "just wrong."

The project will feature many of the typical amenities of "smart growth" and of downtown mixed-use development: wide sidewalks with benches that encourage strolling, porches close to the street that encourage socializing among neighbors, lofts that can attract artists and other creative types.

Soon, a community in Atlanta's traditionally underserved Southside will have the benefits of smart growth and of the "New Urbanism."

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